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With the title The green deal for a sustainable future The European Development Days are back and will be held in a completely virtual meeting on June 15 and 16. It is the 14th edition that should have been held a year ago, but was canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic. Known as the Davos del Desarrollo, these days, in which EL PAÍS / Planeta Futuro participates, are proposed as the largest space for debate on how to prosper while preserving the planet, in preparation for the two major events on biodiversity (CBD – COP15) in October in Kunming (China) , and climate change (COP26) in November in Glasgow (UK).
The sessions, totally virtual, have been reduced in number because, according to the organizers of the European Commission, keeping the audience so much time on the screen is impossible. While in previous editions some 160 debates have been held, this time there will be a menu of 90, classified into 17 thematic areas, from the circular economy and green finance to forest management, sustainable agricultural production or access to water and sanitation. A high-level session, debate, project presentation and brainstorming session will be held on each of these topics. And there will be no shortage of the usual special side events and an exhibition. All accessible from the internet upon registration from this web address.
It is a “unique” event, they affirm from the organization, as it brings together very diverse development actors: young activists, Hollywood artists, senior UN officials, diplomats from the European Union and civil society organizations from the most remote corners of the planet. A) Yes, among the illustrious panelists highlighted by the European Commission are actor Ben Affleck, in his capacity as co-founder ―together with Whitney Williams– and president of the Eastern Congo Initiative, an organization that promotes progress in that country with projects and alliances such as the one they maintain with local coffee producers so that they provide brands like Nespresso at a fair price.
Other well-known faces of the event are actor Idris Elba, a member of the board of directors of Conservation International or the French-Malian singer and model, Inna Modja, who also defines herself as an activist in favor of women’s rights. And on a more diplomatic level, the UN staff will participate with Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Achim Steiner, administrator of the UN Development Program and Henrietta Fore, head of UNICEF, among others. All of them accompanied by the representation of the European Union.
Any of these outstanding speakers will always be accompanied at the table by one of the 17 young activists They have been selected from more than half a thousand candidates who expressed their interest in participating in the top-level conversations of the European Development Days (EDD). Its presence will be transversal. The commissioner for international alliances, Jutta Urpilainen, has insisted that youth be heard in this and other forums for subsequent decision-making regarding development plans. In this regard, he recently named the Ethiopian Bitania Lulu Berhanu as Special Youth Advisor.
“Young people are the pillars of the world of tomorrow, that is why the European Union supports their training wherever society needs their inspiration and courage to shape a greener and fairer world to protect our planet. Through the Young Leaders Program, the European Commission wants to give them a voice. We believe in their invaluable contribution to global development efforts, ”said Urpilainen.
What the hell are # EDD21 for?
#OnEarth It is the label that the organization of the conference has chosen for social networks (in addition to # EDD21). It is a word game. It means “on earth”, but when written in a question, the translation changes to “what the hell”. “Why the hell is it urgent to act now? What the hell should we do to save the planet? Who are the actors of change on Earth? ”, The European Commission raises on the event’s website, making use of the double meaning of the expression.
“Biodiversity loss, climate change and environmental degradation are defining the challenges of our generation and require more coordinated and incisive international efforts. The covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the links between human health and a healthy planet. The subsequent recovery should be an opportunity to rebuild greener and more inclusive societies and economies ”, is described in the virtual space of the meeting.
These are the questions that, in short, are being raised in these European Development Days dedicated to the challenge of combating climate change and maintaining life on the planet. It is about, they comment from the organization, to bring to Brussels the way how sustainable human development becomes a reality with the testimony of those who work on it on the front line.